October 10, 2011

Queensland's cattle weights reach record high



Favourable seasonal conditions for the last 18 months across the eastern states have allowed Queensland to hit a new record high monthly average carcase weight of 304.8kg/head cwt in August, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.


According to Meat & Livestock Australia, average Queensland carcase weights for August were 5.5%, or 15.8kg/head higher than the same period last year, and surpassed the previous record high of 302.6kg/head set in February.


Every month so far in 2011 has seen average adult carcase weights in Queensland exceed 300kg/head cwt. Prior to 2011, average monthly Queensland weights had only exceeded 300kg/head on five separate occasions, the first in January 2005.


The impact of higher carcase weights on Queensland beef production is reflected in the first eight months of 2011 whereby 18,300 head fewer adult cattle had been processed compared to the same period in 2010 but an additional 19,393 tonnes cwt of beef has been produced.


Reflecting the situation in Queensland, NSW adult cattle carcase weights also hit record highs in August, averaging 5.2% higher on year, or 13.9kg/head, at 283.1kg/head.


The national average carcase weight for August was the second highest on record, rising 4% on year, or 11.1kg/head, to 288.7kg/head cwt - falling short of the 289.6kg/head high set in February.  With the higher average weights in Queensland and NSW, beef and veal production for August was up 4% on year, to 189,815 tonnes cwt, with Queensland (99,244 tonnes cwt) and NSW (43,395 tonnes cwt) output jumping 4% and 22% higher on year, respectively.


Although SA remained stable last year at 8,106 tonnes cwt, production in all other states declined, largely due to a reduction in cattle throughput. Beef and veal production in Victoria (26,508 tonnes cwt) decline 9% on year, while WA (8,765 tonnes cwt) and Tasmania (3,796 tonnes cwt) fell 18% and 11%, respectively.

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